Though not mandated for widespread introduction until 2006, fuel supplier Sprague Energy has ramped up production of low-sulfur diesel for several transit fleets on the East Coast.
The New York county of Westchecter powering 344 transit buses with low-sulfur diesel and will receive more than three million gallons of low sulfur diesel annually from Portsmouth, NH-based Sprague. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority plans to fuel all 400 of its buses with low sulfur diesel, based on an agreement with Sprague Energy to receive more than 7.2 million gallons of that fuel every year.
While both of those fleets are using low sulfur diesel as part of a voluntary effort to reduce vehicle emissions, the trucking industry will be required by federal mandate to use that fuel starting in 2006. The EPA has mandated that sulfur content in diesel fuel be reduced from 500 to15 ppm nationwide by 2006.
Sprague Energy said without any mechanical modifications to the transit buses using low sulfur diesel fuel, particulate matter is reduced by 23%, carbon monoxide levels are cut by 29% and total hydrocarbon emissions are slashed by 76%. When those buses are fitted with an exhaust filtration system, all three of those emissions are cut 90%.